James Tully is a distinguished professor of political science, law, indigenous governance and philosophy at the University of Victoria. After completing a BA at the University of British Columbia and a PhD at the University of Cambridge, he taught in the Departments of Philosophy and Political Science at McGill University from 1977 to 1996. He chaired the Department of Philosophy from 1994 to 1996. He was a professor in and the chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria 1996 to 2001. From 2001 to 2003, Professor Tully was the inaugural Henry N.R. Jackman Distinguished Professor in Philosophical Studies at the University of Toronto in the Departments of Philosophy and Political Science and at the Faculty of Law. In 2003, he returned to the University of Victoria. Professor Tully is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the author or editor of eight books and many articles in the field of contemporary political and legal philosophy or theory and its history, and in Canadian political and legal philosophy. Professor Tully received the Killam Prize in the Humanities for 2010.
Tully's work is a form of critical and historical reflection on contemporary political problems that questions sedimented ways of thinking and acting politically today and opens them to critical dialogue and change by citizens and academics. Tully has applied this form of critical philosophy to a number of different problems, such as property, multiculturalism, multinationalism, and other forms of struggles over recognition, the colonial relationship between Euro-American and Indigenous peoples, Canadian and European constitutionalism, globalization, and the environment. His current project, connected to the Trudeau Foundation, is entitled "Civic Freedom and Public Philosophy in a Globalizing Age". It is an exploration of concrete practices of freedom by which humans (individuals and groups) call into question and seek to transform the non-democratic and unequal relations of meaning, power, and subjectification through which they and their environment are governed.
"The Trudeau Foundation is a unique institution. At its heart is a critical dialogue among the scholars, mentors and fellows that – to paraphrase Pierre Trudeau - pushes each participant to his or her limit and beyond. Each brings his or her academic research and practical experience to bear on the great problems of inequality and oppression, war and peace, environmental destruction, and civic responsibility facing Canada and the world in the twenty-first century. This ongoing dialogue of reciprocal elucidation is linked to the larger public discussion of these issues through the Foundation’s various public events. In turn, the energy, insights, and advances of this community-in-dialogue reverberate throughout the work of the mentors, the learning of the scholars, the teaching and research of the fellows, and the broader networks of all who participate in this unique pedagogical experience, creating a uniquely Canadian ethos of democratic responsibility as it progresses."